Another day, another hologram of one of your favorite artists.
Today, April 11, it was announced that ARHT Media has attained the digital rights to a Notorious B.I.G. hologram. The “Humagram” of the late rapper, born Christopher Wallace, was agreed upon by a partnership between ARHT Media and ByStorm Entertainment, who handles the estate of Biggie alongside singer Faith Evans and his mother Voletta Wallace. The hologram will “perform in various capacities including on-stage deliver and music videos.”
My first question is, will he make his debut at Puff Daddy’s two-day Bad Boy reunion, taking place in May at the Barclays Center, in honor of Biggie? My second question is, why? Do loyal fans, no. 1 fans, want to see their favorite rapper, dead or alive, perform in the form of a hologram? I personally didn’t want to see a hologram of Tupac Shakur, courtesy of the ARHT Media’s competitor Hologram USA, at Coachella Valley Music & Art Festival in 2012, because I am such a big fan of Tupac. It felt as if we weren’t letting ‘Pac live on through his music. Why must we try to recreate the late rapper with the chance of tarnishing his legacy? I didn’t want something that may contain glitches when trying to portray his mannerisms be something I then remember him by.
The depiction of a late artists; mannerisms is also what made the hologram of Michael Jackson at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards more creepy than cool. Alongside backup dancers, the Jackson hologram moonwalked, sung, and twirled during his performance of “Slave to the Rhythm,” “Jam,” and “In the Closet.” It was impossible to not compare how realistic the hologram was to how Michael was. And if it is portrayed to a T, as some thought the Michael Jackson hologram was, it’s then uncomfortable because at the end of the day it’s not the real thing. (Let alone the moral implications behind resurrecting a dead person.)
Live performances won’t be so live, but it’s another means of profitably for the festival and touring circuit and live-streaming. Hologram Tupacs debut at Coachella sparked rumors of a hologram tour and questions of what other late artist will soon take hologram form. A hologram of Whitney Houston will reportedly take the stage this year. In 2015, it was announced that the recreation of the late singer will not only happen but it’d be a “multimedia endeavor. “Not only will the hologram premiere at a U.S. venue and tour the world, but the content created by FilmOn Studios will be syndicated across all digital and cable platforms,” reports Rolling Stone.
I blame the slew of upcoming hologram performances on nostalgia and curiosity. The reason most companies, and estates, behind holograms of late artists have for the re-creation is offer fans one more moment with the beloved late artist, and to showcase their “amazing artistry,” as Hologram USA and FilmOn CEO Alki David said about the Whitney hologram. Whitney’s sister Pat Houston added that it’s to “continue a legacy of performances that will not be forgotten in years to come.” But is adding on performances to a late artists’ legacy by a re-creation of them be as memorable and legitimate as their performances when alive?
We’ll get to see how realistic Biggie’s hologram is when he makes his debut in Faith Evans’ music video for the first single off her duets compilation, The King & I.